Mental health for the new year

“The destination is on your right,” said the robotic voice from Google Maps. I look out the passenger window, only to see a forest of uniform pine trees, each stretching out from the ground, perfectly straight. My hands begin slipping as I guide the steering wheel to the right. My fingers bump into each other as I roll down the window for fresh air. The dirt trail through the woods leads to a large building. The tall walls, sharp spires, and stained glass encouraged humility. I walked toward the front doors, leaving my lonely car behind. The smell of incense and old furniture crept into my skin, transporting me to a grandmother’s home. While the lobby was silent, my mind was screaming. From the back room appears a man. Wearing his all-black ensemble and signature white collar-piece, he motions me to follow him. The absence of light and abundance of crucifixes decorated the long hallway, until we reach his chambers.

Eventually, these “therapies” wore me down. The guilt of not being the perfect son, the anxiety caused by an unaccepting home, and the depression of thinking about my future became too much to carry. Staring at my grey bedroom ceiling, I wonder if things would ever get better. Those cheery YouTube videos, promising of a better post-coming-out future, fizzle in the background as I realized two years have elapsed and they still believe I can be changed. But maybe this year will be different.

After the champagne is popped and party winds down, the new year offers a chance to begin anew. Fitness regimens, eating habits, and travel plans commonly shine as resolutions. Mental health resolutions, on the other hand, do not receive the same glamourous attention. For the new year, releasing the guilt and anxiety tops my list. According to the Dictionary, there are two definitions for “resolution”:

  1. A firm decision to do or not to do something
  2. The action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter

Vowing to follow the latest fad diet, traveling to an Instagrammable location, or learning a new professional skill could fall into the first category, it is a decision to do something. The second definition, however, asks the resolution-maker to solve a problem. Problem-solving takes effort, mental fatigue, and heart. Identifying the problem, researching ways to solve it, and knowing when to ask for help is a tiresome process.

Resolving mental health issues is a complex resolution, but I am ready for that next step. Letting go of the negative feelings from the past two years will not fit neatly onto a calendar, but the payoff will be worth it. Mental health issues disporportionally affect the LGBTQ community, and finding help can be the most beneficial action. Starting 2019 with a problem-solving resolution sets the tone for an optimistic year, even if the anxious voice in my head tells me otherwise.

If you’re looking for some helpful LGBTQ resources to start off this year, I’ve listed a few below. Cheers to 2019!

  1. The Trevor Project: provides a suicide-prevention hotline for LGBTQ youth. Callers speak to trained counselors in confidence. The Trevor Project also offers volunteering opportunities and other events for the LGBTQ community.
  2. Find an LGBTQ therapist: Therapy can be intimidating, especially if your therapist isn’t experienced with LGBTQ issues. Psychology Today has a database of LGBTQ therapists. All you need to do is plug in your location, and the database will find therapists in your area.
  3. Find a local LGBTQ center: Want to join your local LGBTQ community, but not sure how? The GLBT National Resource Database contains information about LGBTQ clubs and organizations in your area. From sports leagues, community centers, and more, this database can help you connect with your community.

Written by Aaron Robert

Michigan communications specialist with a love for writing.

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